Best Monday Night Football bets: Rams-Cardinals

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

December 13, 2021 10:00 AM
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Monday Night Football features the Los Angeles Rams on the road to take on the Arizona Cardinals to complete an exciting Week 14 in the NFL.

Our team of experts at VSiN has the game covered from all angles, with a market report from South Point oddsmaker Chris Andrews, along with a pick on the game from VSiN's Wes Reynolds, Adam Burke and Ben Brown from Pro Football Focus.

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5, 51.5)

Andrews: One of the best Monday night betting attractions all season. I opened Arizona -3 and sharps took the points. They also bet the Rams to win straight up on the moneyline at + 135 and + 130. I’m currently at Arizona -2.5, with the ML at Cards -140/Rams + 120. Many bettors are laying the shorter number with Arizona. This has the look of a game that could hop between -2.5 and -3 until kickoff. You regulars know I prefer to sit on the whole number in those circumstances. I’m hoping to get back to Arizona -3 soon, but the market doesn’t always cooperate! That clear support for the Rams on the moneyline might signal a solid 3 isn’t in the cards … for the Cards. My opening total of 52 was bet down to 51.5. I am taking some Over play since the adjustment. If this game gets hyped as another potential shootout, the total could rise a bit before kickoff. 

Reynolds: Week 14’s Monday nighter is a crucial NFC West matchup where the Cardinals can clinch their first playoff berth since 2015, while the Rams need a win to stay in the NFC West race. After a 3-0 start, the Rams (-4) were dominated at home by Arizona 37-20 in Week 4. 

Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins returned for Arizona last week in Chicago but didn’t have to do much as the Cardinals only gained 257 yards (5.0 yards per play). Arizona took advantage of four Andy Dalton interceptions as the Cardinals scored 24 points on just four short scoring drives (28, 15, 21 and 12 yards). 

Meanwhile, the Rams got right against lowly Jacksonville -- and even though, it was against the Jaguars, Los Angeles finally produced its first 100-yard rusher of the season (Sony Michel, 121 yards). The Rams may have found something here and should be able to exploit Arizona’s weakness on the ground as the Cardinals are 31st in the NFL, giving up 4.7 yards per carry.

Sean McVay is 10-5 SU and ATS on the road in division games while Kliff Kingsbury is just 4-8 ATS as a home favorite during his tenure in Arizona. 

This is the “put up or shut up” game for the Rams to prove whether they are a contender or a pretender. 

Pick: Rams + 3

Burke: We’ve seen this movie before. The Rams, who dominate bad teams and have a tremendous stat profile as a result, have really struggled against good teams. The Week 3 win over Tampa Bay was nice, but it feels like forever ago and the Rams still gave up well over six yards per play in that game.

They have another chance here, but until the Rams prove that their defense can stand up against an upper-echelon team, it is hard to bet on them. Los Angeles has the stats, the yards per play differential, the talent and the potential, but reality needs to match up with perception. For now, the reality is that the Cardinals owned the first meeting, leading by double digits throughout the game. The Rams have recently lost to the Packers, Titans and 49ers. Their last five wins have been against teams nowhere near the playoff hunt and it feels like almost every team in each conference is vying for a berth.

The Cardinals have a healthy, rested Murray, who had the luxury of healing up before coming back too quickly thanks to Arizona’s record and Colt McCoy’s play. Matthew Stafford is still a bit of a question mark with his recurring back problems.

Maybe this is going to be the week that the Rams step up and beat a comparable foe, but until proven otherwise, fade the Rams against good teams.

Pick: Cardinals -2.5

Brown: Zach Ertz is having a renaissance since being traded to the Cardinals before Week 7. Ertz has played 72.6 percent of offensive snaps for the Cardinals, running a route on 74.7 percent of dropbacks while seeing a 16.8 percent team target share. The usage is eye-popping, but it may not tell the entire story for Ertz in Arizona. 

Murray has only been in the lineup for three games that Ertz has played for Arizona, and those three matchups were the lowest target share that Ertz has as a member of the Cardinals; in those three games, Ertz’s team target share dropped to 12.5 percent. 

This also doesn’t fully account for the injury situation the Cardinals experienced in those games at the wide receiver position. With a full set of pass-catchers now back for Arizona, this is really the game where we should judge Ertz’s usage. Since he is now at his highest receiving yardage prop of the season, betting Ertz to go under with a cut to his target volume seems appropriate. Matchup considerations and the fact that PFF’s betting model also likes the under are two more reasons that Ertz should fall short of this number on Monday.

Pick: Ertz under 40.5 receiving yards -115

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